- - Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Ford Escape, America’s best-selling SUV, will raise the bar even higher with the debut of an all-new model that features 11 new exclusive features and fuel economy projected to top any vehicle of its kind on the market today.

“We call our all-new Ford Escape the ‘Smarter Utility Vehicle’ because it offers the strengths that customers today really value - fuel economy, versatility and new technology that makes driving and living with the vehicle easier and more fun - all wrapped in a sleek, more modern design,” said Derrick Kuzak, group vice president, Global Product Development. “Ford understands that more people every year are looking at vehicles like Escape, and we want to give them even more reasons to buy.”

Sixty percent of Americans shopping for a vehicle next year will look at either a midsize car or small SUV, making Escape part of one of the most cross-shopped and fastest-growing segments in the auto industry.

“Escape is America’s best-selling utility vehicle, and the Ford team has worked hard to make sure we deliver even more of what small SUV owners really want,” Kuzak said.

fEscape offers Ford’s broadest nameplate range of EcoBoost engine choices yet. Strong fuel economy comes from either the available 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine or 1.6-liter EcoBoost engine, which makes its American debut in the new Escape.

Both new engines combine EcoBoost’s core technologies of direct fuel injection and turbocharging and add twin independent variable camshaft timing (Ti-VCT) to deliver even better miles per gallon and save customers money on fuel.

In Escape, EcoBoost engines are mated to specially calibrated, six-speed SelectShift Automatic transmissions, which are standard and allow drivers who want more hands-on experiences to manually control gear selection from a switch on the left-hand side of the shifter.

The gearbox features a new torque converter for improved driving feel, silky smooth shifts and even better fuel economy. Engineers also installed revised gear ratios for a balanced driving feel in all situations.

The standard engine in North America is an updated 2.5-liter, giving the new Escape a comprehensive lineup of four-cylinder offerings. It also is matched to a SelectShift Automatic six-speed.

Also aiding fuel economy is Escape’s sleeker design. The new model is nearly 10 percent more aerodynamic than the outgoing model.

Plus, the new Escape’s active grille shutter system, which is on all models with the 1.6-liter EcoBoost and 2.5-liter four-cylinder engines, reduces wind resistance. Grille slats stay open when extra engine cooling air is required, such as low-speed stop-and-go driving. When cruising on the highway at steady speeds, the grille slats automatically close to improve aerodynamics and fuel efficiency.

Stowing and towing are even easier in the new five-passenger Escape, thanks to a low liftover height of 27 inches, more innovations and cargo volume that surpasses the outgoing Escape - with 68.1 cubic feet of space behind the first row and 34.3 cubic feet behind the second row.

The new Escape’s rear seats have been designed to fold flat easily. With the touch of a button, the head restraint folds down and with the lift of a handle on the seat, the seatback folds and dives as the seat folds flat and clicks into position.

Escape also features an available two-position load floor, which can be configured to allow the customer to choose among maximum luggage volume or flat load floor.

When properly equipped, the all-new Escape maintains a trailer tow rating of 3,500 pounds.

Using new advanced software and sensors, the new Intelligent 4WD System analyzes data from 25 external signals, including wheel speed, accelerator pedal position and steering wheel angle, assessing road conditions and driver input 20 times faster than the blink of an eye.

The system uses all the sensor inputs to turn the vehicle in the direction the driver wants it to go. Intelligent 4WD builds on the pre-emptive actions by adding and subtracting torque as needed through an electromagnetic clutch.

Following its world debut in Los Angeles, this new vehicle will head to Europe, where sales of compact sport utilities have grown 200 percent since 2000. It will be revealed at the Geneva Motor Show in March for European customers as the all-new version of the Ford Kuga and will have unique powertrains and features. Chinese customers also will see the all-new Kuga next spring.

“This all-new Ford model opens a new chapter in the world of SUVs,” Kuzak said. “By being smarter, this utility vehicle will help customers around the globe find better, easier ways to connect with technology, maximize fuel efficiency and find the versatility and capability they need and want.”

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